Problem Prevention Tip # 1, Room To Breathe

Computer Problem Prevention Tip # 1

Give your computer room to breathe, keep the nearby area clean and the ambient temperature comfortable.

No Room To Breathe
Pros:
Your computer will likely last much longer and have fewer problems.

Cons:
You won’t be able to hide your computer in a unventilated cabinet or use the space right around it for storage.

Difficulty: Easy

Details (AKA The Long Version):
One of the most common reasons computers fail is heat. Cooling methods vary, but most desktop computers were designed to draw air in through the front and push it out the back. Laptops usually pull air in from the bottom and three sides then push it out the remaining side. When you set a running laptop down on something soft like a comforter you are likely blocking an air vent.

If the air flow is restricted a computer may run at higher temperatures than it was designed to. Nearby lint, dust and dirt can be pulled into a computer where it builds up in the vents and on the motherboard. These contaminants act just like a blanket. Placing a computer in a cabinet that lacks proper ventilation or running it in a room where the temperature is above the high seventies will likely shorten its life too. Some small computers don’t even have a fan. They use convection alone to stay cool. Extra care needs to be taken with these.

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